Raise Your Hand

Raise your hand if you are happy with the drama in Washington that led the economic concerns of the world to the brink of catastrophe.  If you believe the polls there are very few hands in the air these days, no matter political leanings. What has led us to this new low?

And, maybe the more important question, how does this paint the landscape for the next crisis? Notice I said, “the next crisis.” This latest deal buys us a few months. We have a short-term deal to fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7. And then we are right back into it.

Washington, a Landscape of Dissolution

The rhetoric, the name calling, the recriminations flow from Washington in a marvelous flood reminiscent of that bygone day when politicians were poorly paid to flood the continent with well-crafted solutions to our regional and federal problems. What a hot breath now comes from this bloated and decaying mix of cadavers, this mysterious mix of millionaires that measures its worth by its tiresome loquacity.

I hear voices calling for change, calling for a cessation of this insane pattern that has developed of late, and which each time threatens to throw the US and the entire world economy into a deep recession. Some of these voices are now strident. But what are other voices to the selective listener who already has his ear-buds in before he hastens to cross the public square?

I suppose we must actually go over the precipice before we understand what it means to fall. Apparently we must completely ruin the most bountiful and prolific economic engine in the history of the world before we sit in the dust to contemplate our bare possibilities, hearts and memories overflowing with a plenty that may never again be possible.

I have no answer for the nations, including nearly every single one of our allies, who are fed up with this American inability of late to work together. (Say what you will. Through thick and thin, through depressions, world wars, and untrammeled abundance we have been doing that very thing—working together in a two-party system—for 200+ years).

I am shocked at the disregard and disrespect for the nation’s military, veterans, and civilian support community who has borne the brunt of this mindless debacle.

I am angry at the arrogance of our elected lawmakers, so universally absorbed with their pork-barrel politics that they no longer distinguish between want and need, but simply barter between themselves to keep the table full of cups brim.

I am disgusted with a Washington mentality that no longer even feigns to care about spending less than it takes in.

I am plowed under by the horrors that have been erected to future generations by the unprecedented selfishness and narrow-mindedness of this generation.

I am stressed out beyond words in a federal government that is so reckless and irresponsible.

In a few short years we have been abandoned to oblivion here.  Our elected officials have made a game, nay, a spectacle of the very business they have been elected to perform. There is now a deep and disturbing history of that selfishness and abandonment. It is raw and open − anyone who cares to can lift his head from the larder and observe.

I am shocked that grown men and women, guilty of neglect in such terminal and heinous doses, still have their jobs and still have the support of rational beings. If there is any sympathy left in these dried and whitened bones, I suppose it goes to the few who are the in the death struggle of trying to reign in government spending and balance the budget.

I say I have sympathy for these few tired souls. I am not sympathetic to their tactics; I am sympathetic to their morals, which would ask the rest of the great laughingstock to come off of their perches and live as the rest of us must live. They have my sympathy because they battle a bully who knows its size and power mean it does not have to live by any rule it does not want to observe. And so it goes.

My question to this great Republic of America is why? Why do these elected senators and congressmen still have the support of the people? Could a worse thing happen than the misery they have carefully crafted for the rest of us to live by? If change is even possible at this point I feel it can happen only in the way we change an infant’s soiled diaper. Changing it means to take it off and throw it away. Clean up the mess. Start over with a clean cloth.

I have a sinking feeling that America still sponsors such blatant buffoonery because, in a sense, we have all been invited to the banquet. Every person wants to spear one more olive or caper-encrusted sardine before the great famine begins. And don’t kid yourself into thinking there is no famine ahead in the reckoning.

Congress has been feckless in its principles and cavalier in its excess. The buffet table Washington has created now stretches across its abundant acres. Anyone who will can find a seat and eat to his content, absent the idea that the food was somewhere planted, cultivated, reaped, and gathered by real people whose purpose in all of it was to make a living. Fading is the idea that labor is necessary part of living. From it come the virtues that sustain a society.

We are mammoth in our dimensions and hoggish in our wants. This particular brand of gluttony infecting our nation was once famously labeled and roundly acknowledged to be a deadly sin. It was dishonest and wrong to take when you could provide and to lie down when you could work. We are galloping dead away from the idea that it is wrong to live off of the government. There is no future in this. It is unsustainable.

Only those who have ever picked up a shovel and dug can know the depth of the hole we are in. The great detritus mound we have erected beside this cavernous pit is so encumbered with the claims of the entitled that there is little hope to ever again see level ground. Deficit-spending digging continues under a most startling credo: there can be no bottom!

There are no innocents in Washington. No, not one.

I am one voice. Is anyone listening in Washington?

I want to see a plan. I want to see a budget. I want to see an honest effort to solve this problem and to stop this lie. These last 15 years have been the great federal farce. It has to rank as one of the great governmental abandonments in history. I do not make the charge lightly. Its seriousness is compounded by its democratic pedigree. How could a country of elected officials—called to be responsible, entrusted to be exemplary, oath-bound to be civil servants—so easily and completely forget the most basic things about being in their place?

We are well into the third act of this three-act play. My hope is in the age-old tradition that resolves the conflict and restores order in the third act. The time is spent and the actors have but a few lines remaining before the curtain falls. I sense a citizen audience leaning anxiously forward now, nervously glancing to one another for some glimmer of comprehension.

What we in this audience burn to know is if we are going to get punked. Will the comedy advertised on the billboards turn out to be the greatest of tragedies in our time.

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